Tag: Carina Press

Review: Pretty Face by Lucy Parker

Posted February 21, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Pretty Face by Lucy ParkerReviewer: Rowena
Pretty Face by Lucy Parker
Series: London Celebrities #2
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: February 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 264
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four-stars

Highly acclaimed, award-winning author of Act Like It Lucy Parker returns readers to the London stage with laugh-out-loud wit and plenty of drama

The play's the fling

It's not actress Lily Lamprey's fault that she's all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that's not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn't so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.

Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He'd be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily's suddenly rising career, it's threatening Luc's professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they're not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…

This book is approximately 96,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

Pretty Face is the second book in Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series and it was another winner in my book. I adored Luc. I loved Lily and I really, really loved their romance.

Lily Lamprey’s soap opera career is coming to an end and she’s looking forward to moving on from the homewrecking role she’s been playing for far too long. She’s young and she’s got the rest of her life and career ahead of her but not a lot of people think she’s got what it takes to really make a go of it in the theater world.

Luc Savage is renovating an old West End theater and he’s producing the first play that will debut in the new space and at first glance, Lily is not what he’s looking for in any role on the play. Her voice is all wrong for the theater and not even threats of investors pulling their funding is going to stop him from doing what he wants but that all changes when he meets with Lily and gives her a legit shot. Not only can he see her bringing life to one of the key characters in the play, but he can also seeing her being a star in the theater world.

There’s a huge age difference between the hero and heroine in this one. The hero is 40 and the heroine is 26 but that didn’t matter to me. The romance between the two of them worked well and that’s a credit to Parker’s writing style. There was so much going on and so many road blocks in between the two of these guys that something as small as the age difference just didn’t matter. I liked getting to know Lily and Luc on their own but I adored the two of them together.

They both had lives apart from each other but they were pretty drawn to each other and I liked that. Holly and I were talking just last week about how we’ve been noticing that romance novels these days have the hero and the heroine in each other’s pockets for the entire book. There doesn’t seem to be a lot going on in their lives apart from each other and we miss the couples of old, who had friends and family that were a part of their lives and their stories but that wasn’t the case here. Luc had his family and stuff going on with them whereas Lily had her best friend and family and her own stuff going on with them.

All in all, this was another fabulous read by Lucy Parker and she’s cemented her name on my radar and I will definitely be reading more from her. This was an entertaining novel about two completely different people who came together and made sense. Their love grew with passing page and I was completely on board with their feelings, their passion and their story. It’s a definite recommended read from me.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso

Posted January 16, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico RossoReviewer: Jen
Seconds to Sunrise (Black Ops: Automatik #3) by Nico Rosso
Series: Black Ops: Automatik #3
Also in this series: Seconds to Sunrise
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: January 16th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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three-half-stars

Readers of Maya Banks’s KGI series will love the adrenaline-fueled, pulse-pounding suspense of Nico Rosso's SECONDS TO SUNRISE
She thought she’d lost everything…
April Banks thought her website crashing was just a glitch. Starting the online forum for war widows has been the only thing keeping her together since her husband died, and she won’t let anything interfere with her work. But this is no technical malfunction—cyberterrorists have targeted the information locked in April’s website and they’ll do anything to get it. Even if that means removing April. Permanently.
He’ll make them pay…
Automatik gave former SAS agent James Sant a way to protect the innocent again. He thinks life in the shadows is all he deserves…until he meets his newest assignment. April is everything James has never let himself want and he knows she’s already had too much heartbreak in her life to risk feeling for him. But keeping things professional while hunting the hackers with the gorgeous widow is going to be the hardest job he’s ever taken on.
This book is approximately 75,000 words
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

This is the third book in Nico Rosso’s Black Ops: Automatik series, and this time we meet Automatik operator James Sant, who is called in to help widow April Banks. April runs a website for war widows, and it’s given her a purpose and helped her move on after her own husband died in combat. The site was hacked and brought down, though, and personal data of site visitors was stolen. (Why? Personally I was never clear on why the hackers were trying to accomplish. The premise seemed a little flimsy.) James and April have to physically track down the hackers so they can protect the site users and put a stop to whoever is behind the attack.

This book is a bit of fun and fast paced action. I always love a good road trip, and we get one here. James and April have to chase clues through multiple states to track down the hackers, which leads to some great get-to-know-you time. James is an interesting character because he’s not always been with the “good guys”. He has some major guilt and you can see why he’d be so dedicated to spending the rest of his life making up for past choices, as it were. I enjoyed seeing him work to move beyond his past and acknowledge the good he has done since. I also loved the short scene with his dad. I wish we had gotten to spend more time with him, because seeing James with his family really drove home the point that he WAS a decent guy who just made some questionable choices.

I often feel like Rosso’s books are great for the action but not as great at touching your heartstrings, and Seconds to Sunrise was no exception. I expected more emotion from April’s story in particular, as she lost a husband she loved to war. Instead, I felt like the story just assumed it was obvious that such a loss was really painful, instead of helping us see April’s pain. There was also a little depth missing from James and April’s relationship. The right pieces are all there, but the dialogue and inner thoughts just don’t quite express that deeper emotional connection that I personally enjoy in romances. It’s not that I didn’t like them as a couple or enjoy reading their story, but I certainly didn’t end the book with a sweet sigh and won’t be fondly remembering their relationship. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just something you want to know going in.

If you like action packed romances with racially/ethnically diverse characters and some hot sex, check this one out.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso

Posted January 5, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico RossoReviewer: Tracy
Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso
Series: Black Ops: Automatik #3
Also in this series: Seconds to Sunrise (Black Ops: Automatik #3)
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: January 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

She thought she’d lost everything…

April Banks thought her website crashing was just a glitch. Starting the online forum for war widows has been the only thing keeping her together since her husband died, and she won’t let anything interfere with her work. But this is no technical malfunction—cyberterrorists have targeted the information locked in April’s website and they’ll do anything to get it. Even if that means removing April. Permanently.

He’ll make them pay…

Automatik gave former SAS agent James Sant a way to protect the innocent again. He thinks life in the shadows is all he deserves…until he meets his newest assignment. April is everything James has never let himself want and he knows she’s already had too much heartbreak in her life to risk feeling for him. But keeping things professional while hunting the hackers with the gorgeous widow is going to be the hardest job he’s ever taken on.

April Banks survived the death of her husband by starting a website for that supported military widows.  The site grew and eventually there was a financial component so that if the need arose, and people wanted to help those in need, they could.  Now a hacker has crashed her site and is trying to get all of the financial information off of the site.  If successful, thousands of women would have their credit cards and identities revealed.  April tries to stop them but can’t get a lead on who is behind it all.

Enter James Sant. He is an ex-SAS agent who now works for a group called Automatik.  They help those who can’t help themselves and April is one of them.  He and his partner are assigned to just watch her but soon it becomes obvious that the hacker has hired out people to get April out of the picture.  Instead of just watching, James ends up partnering with April and they head out to check out leads when they get them and are attacked time and again.  During it all April and James become closer and April starts to see that maybe there is life after tragedy.

Seconds to Sunrise is the third book in the Black Ops: Automatik series.  I didn’t read the first two books in the series but this was a decent stand alone novel.

I thought the book had a good premise and I liked the characters for the most part.  I did find that I wanted to get to know them more by the end of the story, however.  I think I was supposed to feel more emotional toward April due to the loss of her husband but I never really felt that.  Did I think it sad and tragic? Absolutely, but I didn’t have an emotional reaction to it.  Because of this I couldn’t fully grasp April’s hesitance in going after James and I believe that put a damper on the entire story for me. I couldn’t even get into the sex scene because I wasn’t feeling the connection between the H/h (and it was a long scene!).

That being said, there were some things I definitely liked about the book.  The action scenes were great.  I’ve always loved Rosso’s action scenes as they’re written so well that I feel that I’m there in the middle of it all.  I also  liked the aspect of the story that pertained to James and his issues with his past.  He wasn’t proud of them at all and had hidden the information from everyone.  Meeting April made him realize that he couldn’t live with the guilt and secrecy and he came clean to her and his coworkers.  That was a wonderful part of the book which I liked a lot.  Overall it was a good suspense novel…I just wasn’t feeling the romance part of it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Holiday With a Twist by Shannon Stacey

Posted December 8, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Holiday With a Twist by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Tracy
Holiday with a Twist by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: November 21st 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

After a messy breakup, Leigh Holloway is ready to start her life over. Until her parents put the family home on the market and call her back for one final, memory-making Christmas. The last thing she wants to do is deprive her mom of the perfect holiday, so she'll lie her way through the visit and worry about her future in the New Year. Too bad the only bar in town is owned by a guy she seriously wronged in high school.

Leigh's best friend broke Croy Dawson's heart, and Croy knows it was Leigh's fault. They've never liked each other, but Croy isn't cruel: he'd never turn away a pretty woman in need of some family-Christmas fortification. He doesn't expect her to drink just enough candy-cane martinis to tell him her secrets—and he definitely doesn't expect to get caught up in her holiday madness.

Despite the surprising love and laughter, Croy and Leigh can't escape the truth: he can't walk away from his family obligations and she has a life and career to reboot. But anything is possible if your holiday comes with a twist…

Leigh Holloway is back home in New Hampshire for the holidays.  She has a couple of big secrets that she is keeping from her family but with her parents packing up and selling her childhood home and her sister and her baby living with them as she’s getting a divorce, Leigh just doesn’t want to pile one more thing on top of it.  Of course, it’s kind of selfish as well as she’s sure her family will try to talk her into staying in NH and her life is back in Houston.

The first night she’s back in town she heads over to the new restaurant that is owned by the Dawson family.  She’s not sure of her reception as Croy Dawson, the last time they saw each other, was pissed at her.  That was nine years earlier but she’s still wouldn’t be surprised if he refused to serve her.  She’s pleasantly surprised when he is more than welcoming.  They were such good friends growing up but that’s as far as their relationship went back then.  Almost immediately they’re each tamping down the attraction they feel for each other.  They are soon in bed together but Leigh’s only staying three weeks and then she’s gone.  She’s not sure that she can keep her heart out of her relationship with Croy and he’s positive he never wants her to leave.

This was a cute holiday novella.  Leigh and Croy were great together and I loved that since they had been friends growing up they kind of just fell into that again – only deeper.  The story was charming and the holiday aspect was a nice touch.

My main issue with the story was really Leigh and her “secret.”  There were really two but they were related.  The fact that Leigh hadn’t told her mother the main one that had happened two months prior was baffling to me.  I guess I would have understood if it had just happened but it was a major event and she hadn’t shared it with anyone in her family when it happened?  I find that so strange.  She had a good relationship with both of her parents and her sisters so why the secrecy?  I just didn’t get it and then to have Croy keep the secret and have them sneak around because of it didn’t set well with me.  That was my only issue with the story but it was a doozy.

Overall,  as I said, it was a cute story.  I always like Stacey’s novella’s as she packs a lot of fun and love into each one.  This one had a good family feel, a romance, and humor and those things always score well in my book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: Diablo Lake: Moonstruck by Lauren Dane

Posted July 27, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Diablo Lake: Moonstruck by Lauren DaneReviewer: Holly
Diablo Lake: Moonstruck by Lauren Dane
Series: Diablo Lake #1
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: June 20th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General, Contemporary
Pages: 205
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three-stars

In Diablo Lake, Tennessee, a town populated by werewolves, witches and more, magic woven deep into the earth protects the town's secrets from outsiders.Katie Grady left Diablo Lake to get over a humiliating breakup. But her family needs her help, so she's back, in a sublet right across the hall from the guy she's lusted after for years. Jace Dooley is hotter than ever, and their friendship picks up along with massive doses of grown-up chemistry.The very scent of Katie sharpens Jace's canines, makes the wolf within him stir. There's nothing more alluring to a Pack Alpha than a sexy female who is so very in charge. She won't be coddled, but if he plays his hand just right she might be convinced to become his.Katie presents a challenge to Jace's wolf nature, whose chief instinct is to protect. Especially now that she's coming into the magic that is her birthright—and suddenly Jace isn't the only one who's interested in Katie or the raw power she's just learning to use.Editor's Note: The story continues in Diablo Lake: Protected, available soon!One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you're looking for with an HEA/HFN. It's a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

I took some time after finishing Moonstruck to write the review because I’m on the fence about it. I’m a huge fan of Dane’s novels. I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of her previous releases (though obviously I liked some better than others). When I saw she was writing a new paranormal series set in the south I got really excited. It’s been my experience that she does both really well, so I figured the two together would be a major hit.

Kate Grady grew up in Diablo Lake, Tennessee. She figured she’d spend her whole life here, until her fiance left her at the alter. She needed to get away and get some fresh perspective, so she moved to the city. When her father falls ill, she moves back home to help run the family business and help her mom take care of her dad. As a witch, Kate is pretty sought after by both wolf packs, since having her on their side boosts their power both elementally and politically. When she realizes Jace Dooley is available – and her crush on him is still intact- she thinks long and hard before agreeing to see him because she knows she’ll be taking all kinds of flak if she aligns herself with him. Not to mention he’s the soon-to-be alpha of his pack. Yet she soon realizes she can’t keep away from him.

Jace wasn’t ready for Kate before she got engaged to her ex, and then she took off for the city. He knows she’s everything he wants in a mate – though he is cautious since he knows his family will jump all over him once they realize she’s his. Not to mention the added tension their relationship will cause between his pack and the pack her ex belongs to. Despite all that, now that she’s home he isn’t going to waste time going after her. He just can’t help himself.

As Kate and Jace discover each other, they also discover a boatload of drama coming from her ex’s pack. Kate also struggles with the knowledge that while Jace wants her for her, she’s also a major asset to their pack. Which means they want her for her magic, too, not just for who she is as Kate.

It’s not that I disliked the book, per se. Kate is a strong, independent woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Jace is the strong, alpha type Dane writes so well. Their romance was sweet and the sex was hot. The tension between the packs was interesting and so was the drama surrounding Kate and her ex. I just struggled because it didn’t really seem to go anywhere. By the halfway point the h/h were solid – or heading there – yet the plot just kept circling. The main conflict – a power struggle between the wolves and witches of Diablo Lake, plus a fight between the two main wolf packs – just circled around itself. I understand this is the start of a new series, but nothing was resolved in this book, aside from the HEA of the h/h…though even that’s questionable considering the possible danger coming from several fronts. The same arguments were had again and again, with the same tirades on both sides. In the end this felt like half a novel. I’m curious enough to continue reading, but to be honest the long wait between releases has me pretty frustrated.

3 out of 5

three-stars

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